A warm evening with a gentle breeze blowing bits of sand. The streets are empty. Lit candles glow through open windows show families enjoying their meals. Laughter carries up and down the vacant cobblestones. Simon the Pharisee is very delighted. Tonight he is hosting Jesus, the PROPHET whom everyone is talking about. Almost giddily he thinks, “Maybe I can find something out about this Man that makes Him so special.”
Is the Pharisee, really showing an act of hospitality or are there ulterior motives?
Another part of town, a colder, darker part of town contains less laughter. The meals are not filled with gaiety. Joy does not filter through these streets. The normal sound is chaos from, wailing, unattended babies and coughing, sick children. If laughter is heard, it is anything but joyful.
The Woman’s small living quarters are in this part of town. While she lived with her mother, her house was decent. Her mother made a decent living. Now the Woman is alone. She makes her living in a sad fashion non decent manner. Her heart is empty.
The Woman heard rumors. ” Could this be the Prophet.The Teacher everyone is talking about.?” she pondered. Gazing at the beautiful alabaster jar, her mind swirls..
- “ I have no right to even think about going to that house.
- I caught a quick glance of Him in the market. His gentle eyes gave me hope.
- There will be other men in that house who will know me possible who have known me. (she shutters).
- He looked into the eyes of that sick girl with such love and tenderness. With one touch a soft word, He healed her.
Of course He healed her. She is holy. I AM NOT!
Could she deny the deep yearning and passion drawing her to go to the house.and give?
The Woman looked again at the jar containing the costly oils for her livelihood. The jar was priceless. It belonged to her mother.
The Woman could not dwell on the matter any longer. Fear would consume her thoughts making the decision for her if she did not move.
Quickly she wrapped a simple shawl around her head and face Grabbing the alabaster jar, she left her home. She could not be bothered as she moved to the other side of town. The fear of failure and rejection ran rampant through her body. Beads of sweat from the brisk walk and the heat did not stop her body from shaking. She had no idea what to expect once she reached her destination.
The Woman did not consider how food would be purchased or bills paid after the oil was gone. It was not a consequence to consider now.
As unrealistic as it seemed, the intense draw to give everything to this Man was the only reality that mattered. The Woman would break her beloved jar, if she must. She would pour out her oil, her love, her all.
Everyone was enjoying the well prepared meal. Food was perfect for the special guest. Jesus was a perfect guest. Too perfect for Simon’s taste. Nothing was happening. The evening was coming to a close with not even a tiny miracle or odd word.
The conversations continued. Without notice, as though covered by a shadowy protection, the Woman was on her knees in front of Jesus. Upon noticing the crumpled figured at His feet, the other men, close to Jesus gasped and moved away. They knew who she was. They knew her reputation. Simon sneered to himself , “He can’t be as good as they say He is. He should know what kind of a woman she is.”
Jesus looked sternly toward Simon and said, “Silence”.
Simon blinked being caught off guard.
Jesus eyes returned to the Woman. Softly and gently His gaze took in her actions, he took in her heart. Her tears ran down her face. She could not stop crying. Raising to her feet, she broke the seal of the jar and stood over Jesus head. She tipped the jar. The thick contents poured slowly onto the head beneath her. With eyes closed and head slightly lifted, Jesus received the entire offering, down His head, His beard, His shoulders. . This fragrant perfume flowed to his feet. The pungent aroma filled the dining area and beyond.
Moments went by. Not a sound.
No words passed between Jesus and the Woman. He looked into her eyes, into her soul as if to say.: “Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”
The Woman unbound her hair to dry tears and oil from Jesus. Such deep love she had never known. It protected her from the judgemental statements against her actions.
” Wasteful! If you really wanted to repent, the oil should have been sold to meet the needs of the poor,” came the verbal accusation on her pure act of love . The Woman was not enslaved by these attacks. His love without rejection freed her.
Simon got what he wanted. A card to use against this Prophet. He smiled to himself, “Either this Man does not know the sinners, which means He isn’t a real prophet, or He does not keep the law by allowing a woman of this sort to touch Him. This Jesus cannot be the Messiah.”
The Woman rebound her hair as the men resumed their meal. She gathered her shawl. With one last glance to Jesus, she turned and left the house without the alabaster jar.
As she walked down the street, the Woman’s steps were light, relaxed, peaceful. She had no need to protect her face. Everything was bright. She looked to the sky. “Do stars always twinkle so beautifully?” She smiled. Her breathing was deep and full. The Woman felt Joy. The Woman was Free..
In this Lenten season, dare to go deep and experience the intimacy of real people referred to in the Passion stories. My story is a fictional adaptation of Matthew 26:6-10 Mark 14:3-9, and Luke 7:37-39. God is releasing people from fears through honest deep, intimate interaction with Him. Take His hand and walk through whatever it is He wants to show you.